Lynne Brown, from Dunmurry and Joanna Campbell, from Aghalee, met at a local Parkinson’s UK group meeting in 2021, and less than a year later they decided to set themselves a challenge.
Joanna, 58, explained: “Before I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s I did a bit of hill climbing and completed half marathons a few times. Now that I have Parkinson’s I wanted to give myself a new challenge and my daughter believed that I could manage Slieve Doan.
“Lynne and I meet at least once a week for a chat. We really hit it off and we’ve been a great support to each other since. I tend to face things head on and I talk openly about my diagnosis because I can’t change it.”
Lynne, 55, admitted that climbing a mountain isn’t something she would ever have tackled before her diagnosis.
“Joanna really encouraged me to get walking,” she said. “Some days I can’t even get up two flights of stairs but I’ve now managed to climb up a mountain in Northern Ireland. I now walk with two sticks and it was a huge challenge but we got there! We kept each other going.
“When I was diagnosed I cried and cried. I just saw my life disappear before me. I was so shocked - I never thought the consultant would tell me that I had Parkinson’s. It was definitely a shock to the system.
“Fundraising means I’m doing my part to find a cure. It gives me a buzz because I know that if I didn’t have Parkinson’s I wouldn’t be doing this walk. It’s a positive from the situation. I would love to be part of finding a cure. And maybe if other people see me doing it, they’ll think they can do it too.”
Joanna finished, “People have been amazing in supporting us. Thank you to everyone who has donated so far.”
You can sponsor Lynne and Joanna’s climb at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/joannacampbell31You can also learn more about Parkinson’s, and the support provided by Parkinson’s UK in Northern Ireland, on their website: https://www.parkinsons.org.uk/about-us/parkinsons-uk-northern-ireland